Archive for the ‘Opinions’ category

Cash-For-Clunkers – Good Idea or Bad Idea?

July 21, 2009

The Government website for the CARS program

The Government website for the CARS program


Now that the cash-for-clunkers bill (also known as the Car Allowance Rebate System or CARS) is law and goes into effect July 24 until November 1, 2009 (or until the program runs out of money) I have been reading a lot of comments from people online regarding its usefulness.

The program was initially implemented in order to allow you to trade your gas-guzzler in for a more fuel efficient vehicle. Similar to the plan put in place by the German government, it is also said that the program was created to jump-start the ailing auto industry. Some of the eligibility requirements include:

Your trade-in vehicle must

• have been manufactured less than 25 years before the date you trade it in
• have a “new” combined city/highway fuel economy of 18 miles per gallon or less
• be in drivable condition
• be continuously insured and registered to the same owner for the full year preceding the trade-in

Check out cars.gov for more information.

One of the things many people wonder about is how much mpg does their vehicle get? You can go to /www.fueleconomy.gov, put in the information requested and it will give you the mpg. The mpg will be what the government says it is, not what you think you are getting now.

Government allowances will be $3,500 or $4,500 depending on the difference in the fuel economy between the car you wish to purchase and your tradein. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price cannot exceed $45,000. Many dealers are offering to increase the money allowed by the government with special incentive deals. You’ve probably already seen these on your television.

One of the things most people do not consider is that the vehicle they trade in will be scrapped. Yes, that means no used vehicle resale, nothing to be parted out, no vehicle re-use at all except as recycled materials. Also, if your vehicle is worth more than the trade-in allowance permitted by the government, you do not get the difference. Your vehicle will be given a scrap value, so think about this before considering trading in your vehicle.

Some people say that the program does not do enough to help the environment, but that at least it’s a start. Some say it’s bad to junk good cars and why not sell them as used cars or part them out. Some wish it were going to be a longer program. Some have said that it’s not fair to people who already have vehicles that get over 20 mpg. Some are just upset that their taxes are being used at all. What do you think? Let us know your opinions.

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Summer, Children and Hot Cars

June 5, 2009

Summer time temps can lead to even hotter car interiors.

Summer time temps can lead to even hotter car interiors.


I want to take a moment to remind people that summer is almost here and in some places has arrived already. Your car is equivalent to an oven when the sun is out. Open your car door on a summer day and it feels as though you just opened the door to a blast furnace. It doesn’t matter if it’s even 65 degrees out, your car’s internal temperature can reach alarming and deadly temperatures, even in the shade. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “a locked car sitting in the summer sun quickly turns into an oven,” and “temperatures can climb from 78 degrees to 100 degrees in just three minutes, to 125 degrees in 6-8 minutes.” That’s only 3 minutes to go from 78 degrees to 100 degrees, people. 3 minutes – time enough to run inside a store to grab a gallon of milk… time enough to drop off a bill inside the utility company’s office. Imagine what just 3 minutes can do to a child – time enough to send your child’s temperature soaring, leading to heat stroke, dehydration, seizures, stroke, and even death. But it’s only a moment, you say. It’s a lifetime to them.

I don’t know how many times I have seen this same act repeated year after year. Every summer there are stories reported about parents doing exactly that. And it’s not just the idea of leaving them in there to run an errand. Unfortunately, sometimes it is forgetting the child is in the back seat, thinking that the other parent has taken the child inside, or even a child getting into an unlocked car to hide. Sure, you may say it will never happen to you, but so many others have said the same thing only to wind up grieving at the loss of a child.

I read one of the most heart-wrenching stories from the Washington Post, Fatal Distraction. I highly recommend all child-care givers read it. Hopefully it will stick in your mind and make you more vigilant. Here’s the link. Keep some tissues around, you’ll need them.

Here are some safety tips this year from Vincent Iannelli, M.D.:
• don’t leave kids in a car, which can quickly heat up, especially on a hot, sunny day
• always lock your car and secure the keys so that your kids can’t get to them
• warn your kids about playing in the car by themselves without adult supervision
• install a trunk release mechanism, so that they can’t get trapped in the trunk
• get your kids out of the car first, and then worry about getting the groceries, etc., out of the car when you get home
• make sure that child-care providers and day-care workers have a plan to make sure that kids aren’t left in the day-care provider’s car or van

If you are afraid that you might leave your sleeping infant or toddler in their car seat when you get out of the car, place a reminder on the dashboard or do as some parents do and put a teddy bear on the passenger seat of the vehicle when the child is in the back seat. They say it makes a great reminder. Some parents even make sure that they put their briefcase, purse, cell phone or other reminder in the back seat when they have their child in the car. It forces them to look in the back seat.

Also be on alert for cars that might have an unattended child left inside. If you see a child alone in a car, be sure to call 911 and help make sure the child gets out as soon as possible.

If you think it’s OK to leave your child in the car while you run that quick errand as long as the air conditioner is running, think again. Your child becomes an easy target for kidnappers; your child may put your car into drive; or if your car has power windows, they could even get themselves caught in it. Take your kids inside, even if you think it’s only going to be a few minutes. In fact, don’t ever leave your kids alone in the car. It’s not safe and it is actually against the law in many states.

Here is a site with some great public service announcements and information on hyperthermia: kidsandcars.org
They also have some great tips for parents or other care-givers. Check them out.

One of these years, I hope that there will be a summer where news channels will actually say, “this year, there were no reported deaths of children due to overheating in a car, truck, or van.” One of these years…

What about the Ford trucks, huh?

February 25, 2009

Ole Yeller

Ole Yeller


There seems to be a lot of blogging about classic Ford cars. How about let’s hear from you Ford truck owners out there. Auto Krafters has three catalogs covering Ford pickup trucks, ’53-’72, ’73-’79 and ’80-’96. A lot of parts from Ford for the ’80-’96 trucks are going obsolete now. Check out our catalogs if you are having problems finding parts for your classic Ford truck. 

I had a 1979 Ford F-150 4WD. It was the best truck ever! A friend of ours was a big GM guy and one night he and some friends of his were four wheeling in a rather muddy field with his Chevy and a few Toyotas. One got stuck, then another and the one left, a Toyota, couldn’t pull them out. Our friend called us late at night and asked if we could bring “Ole Yeller” down to get them out. It took all he had to make that phone call. My husband took our ’79 down and pulled them all out. Didn’t hear much about Chevy vs. Ford after that from our friend. Please GMC, Chevy, and Toyota fans don’t be offended or get too defensive. I don’t want to start a war. We probably had better tires or my husband was a better driver than the others. 😉 It just makes a good story to tell now and then.

And the Oscar Goes to…

February 19, 2009
Oscar Award Picture

The Oscar Award

 

Car movies. They are some of the most exciting films ever made. Who can forget the chase scene where Steve McQueen catches some air on the streets of San Francisco in “Bullitt”? Or what about the chase scenes in “Gone in Sixty Seconds”? Remember some of the great vehicles in “The Fast and the Furious”? What about the great Ford convertible used in the movie “Grease” that they named the Greased Lightning?

Some of my favorite movies have featured chase scenes that get the heart racing. Since the Oscars are awarded on Sunday, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some great movies that have featured some fabulous cars.

First off is “Bullitt”. It won an Oscar in 1969 for Best Film Editing. If I had to film that ’68 Mustang GT fastback careening off those streets, you’d better believe it would deserve some type of award.

Then we have “Grease”. It was nominated for and Oscar for Best Music, Original Song. OK, forget the smarmy music, the ’48 Ford was awesome.

“Gone in Sixty Seconds” did not win an Oscar, but it did win an MTV Movie award for Best Action Sequence. Admit it, the ’67 Mustang GT500, aka, Eleanor, was a hot-looking car.

You might have thought that “The Fast and The Furious” was nothing but a movie about import cars. It may have shown those predominantly, but did you notice that fabulous ’99 Ford Lightning? By the way, it also won an MTV Movie award. This one was for Best On Screen Team.

There are so many more movies that I could spend several more columns discussing my favorites. Ever gone Ford spotting with these movies? Try getting through any movies filmed in the ’60s and ’70s without seeing any, especially if you are a James Bond fan or Dirty Harry fan. My husband says it is a hazard of our jobs. He’s getting so good at it, that he when sees parked ones in quick scenes, he can give me a year and model.

So grab some popcorn, settle back into your favorite couch or chair and watch some great car movies this weekend. And while you’re at it, see how many Fords you can spot. (Even if your spouse insists on a Doris Day movie, you can still play spot the Fords. It will actually make you look like you are really interested in the movie.)

Classic Car Insurance: An Ounce of Prevention

February 13, 2009

Car show season is upon us and it’s time to think about showing off your classic Ford or Mercury treasure. One of the first things you should consider before even starting the polishing is your insurance coverage. When is the last time you did a review? Most classic care values will increase over the years, even if all you have done is minor restorations.

Here are a few things to consider when reviewing your coverage:

• Level of restoration
• Where the vehicle is primarily located
• An agreed upon value (please note that this can vary greatly. See the info regarding such an experience below)
• Spare parts option availability
• Comprehensive loss
• Mileage covered during a year
• Age of the driver or drivers

When having your vehicle appraised for insurance purposes, read what happened to one of our contributor’s, Roger, father. Roger’s father was having his classic Galaxie appraised by his regular insurance company. their appraisal came back at under $10,000. He then went to a classic car insurance company for a quote and appraisal. This time the Galaxie appraised at just under $25,000. Quite a difference. I’m not saying it isn’t worthwhile to check with your regular insurance company first when looking for classic car insurance, just be sure to check the classic car insurers such as Hagerty, American Collectors Insurance, Grundy, and Heacock Classic. There are many of them and we don’t endorse one over the other. It all depends on the level of coverage you need.

While it is not a comforting thought thinking of losing your classic car or truck, it is comforting to know that you are covered in case of the unthinkable.

Oh, and while you’re at it, it might be a good time to review your regular vehicle’s insurance coverage.

Classic Car Dreams

February 3, 2009

 

My Dream Car

My Dream Car

My husband and I had a great conversation with a gentleman the other day. We found out that he is an avid Ford fan. He brought up an interesting point about the state of the classic car hobby here in the United States: No matter the state of the economy, the average person in the US will always want one of the iconic classic cars sitting in his or her garage. It doesn’t matter if it is a Ford, GM or Chrysler product, chances are one of them will be their dream car. Then we brought up the question, out of the classic cars from the past 40+ years, has there been a Japanese made car that has stirred the collective imagination of car enthusiasts in the US? I thought of the Datsun Z series, but have difficulty thinking of any others.

So, I’m asking you, out of all the classic cars since the 50s, which one do you dream of having in your garage and why? What about your choice makes your makes your hands itch to hold the steering wheel? There are no right or wrong answers, just our dreams.